15th Round of the Chaophraya Dialogue Krabi, Thailand: Key opinion makers from India and Pakistan, including parliamentarians, formerdiplomats, former military officers, media persons and policy experts met in Krabi, Thailand forthe 15th round of the Chaophraya Dialogue from 8–9 December 2014, organised by the JinnahInstitute (JI) and the Australia India Institute (AII).

The Chaophraya Dialogue is the longest consistently running Indo-Pak Track-II jointlyadministered by the Jinnah Institute (JI) and Australia India Institute (AII) to encourage informedpolicy dialogue on Indo-Pak relations. The process is now in its sixth year and has so far led to 15rounds of dialogue.

Joint Statement

The 15th round of the Dialogue focused on recent bilateral developments, the issue of Jammu &Kashmir, tensions along the Line of Control and Working Boundary/InternationalBorder, terrorism and extremism, trade and development, and the future of Afghanistan. Aspecial focus was given to and the role of Track II diplomacy as an instrument of conflictprevention and peacebuilding. Participants agreed to the following statement: Bilateral Relations

They emphasized the importance of dispelling pessimism surrounding the prospects of India – Pakistan relations, inter alia by:

  • Taking effective steps to stabilise the situation on the LoC and WB/IB;
  • Resuming engagement at the official level so that bilateral dialogue on all issues, includingJammu & Kashmir, terrorism, trade, etc can be restarted at the earliest;

  • Addressing humanitarian issues such as that of prisoners and detained fishermen on bothsides as a matter of priority;

  • Facilitating visas by implementing the new liberalized visa agreement;
  • Resuming regular meetings between the Rangers and the BSF and the Maritime SecurityAgency and the Coast Guard;

  • Reactivating contacts for normalization of trade relations;
  • Giving active consideration to a reset of Pakistan-India relations.

J&K, Violations across the LoC, WB/IB Jammu and Kashmir was discussed at the dialogue. No common ground could be found on theissue at this juncture.

  • They expressed their concern at the increase in violence along the LoC and IB/WB,particularly at the loss of innocent civilian lives, and considered this to be detrimental tobilateral relations;

  • They reiterated the need for both governments to follow up by enforcing the existingcease-fire and restoring the non-violent nature of the border;

  • They emphasized that maintenance of peace along this line would not be possible withoutthe resolute demonstration of political will on either side;

  • They recommended that two militaries should discuss modalities of strengthening theceasefire including SOPs regarding its maintenance, and preventing recurrence;

  • They stressed, in the interest of transparency, the need for developing a mechanism forinformation-sharing on incidents along the border;

  • They recommended that the two sides work in good faith to negotiate the ceasefire intoa formal agreement;

  • They called for more assured, secure, efficient and reliable means of communication atappropriate levels for the purpose of effective management of peaceful conditions.

Terrorism and Extremism

  • They urged that the perpetrators of 26/11 and Samjhauta Express and other incidents ofterror be brought to early justice on both sides;

  • They recommended that both countries ensure that actions or statements incitingviolence against a neighbour be disallowed;

  • They urged that India and Pakistan abide by past commitments not to allow their soil oruse of any other territory to be used for an act of terrorism against the other;

  • They recommended that a mechanism more empowered than the JATM be devised;
  • Recognizing the common threat to South Asia from new transnational organizations likeIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates, they called for enhanced bilateral cooperation betweenintelligence and investigative agencies;

  • They recommended that the heads of intelligence agencies establish periodic contactwith each other, so as to generate greater public confidence.

Trade and Development

  • They recommended commissioning a study that mathematically models welfare gainsthat can be yielded through normalization of bilateral trade between India and Pakistan;

  • They welcomed the recent SAARC agreement on Energy cooperation and looked forwardto the finalization of agreements on rail and road transport as scheduled in the comingthree months;

  • They welcomed Pakistan’s assumption of SAARC leadership for 2015 and looked forwardto further SAARC level co-operation on trade and connectivity;

  • They observed that the preparatory work of granting NDMA and removal of NTBs shouldcontinue;
  • They proposed that the two countries co-operate on social policy issues that can benefitfrom a shared social and institutional environment as well as learning from each other’sexperiences. In this regard, it was suggested that exchanging parliamentary delegationshould be initiated;

  • They welcomed the announcement of the SAARC business traveller card by India andencouraged all SAARC members to do the same. Furthermore, to facilitate trade andconnectivity, mobile phone roaming in either country should be allowed.

The Future of Afghanistan

  • They complimented the leadership in Afghanistan for showing sagacity and wisdom informing a national unity government, and expressed the hope that the same spirit ofconsensus would be applied to governance and development;

  • They welcomed the continued engagement of the international community withAfghanistan and hoped that this would be sustained over the medium to long term;

  • They welcomed the Afghan government’s reiteration of its commitment to thereconciliation process;
  • They recommended that India and Pakistan should engage in order to support peace,stability and economic development in Afghanistan;

  • They recommended that India and Pakistan should consider joint projects on agriculture,education, health, infrastructure development and connectivity;

  • They recommended that appropriate conditions should be created in Afghanistan for therefugees in Pakistan to be repatriated and resettled;

  • They expressed concern over the growth of poppy cultivation and drug trafficking, andcalled upon their governments to intensify their cooperation to control this menace.